A Glimpse into the Kitchen

I am heading homeward
fetid with heat, drowsy and bone-tired
My way, the doors are open, thrown wide

for workers, squatting under sparks
in garages
iron-scented airlessness
while shirtless mechanics
– hands on haunches –
sag like statues gone to seed

we live in a square, a box
of motor shops, bit-parts and everywhere
scraps of metal, stray cats

Folks sit outside. Life’s monotony
chewed over in Cantonese
around tables groaning with fried things, sour sauces and grease – and then

a glimpse into the kitchen
short order cook with legs like two bending twigs, his lit cigarette
flicked to
trills of opera. Floor slick with water

he is humming, plastic-sandalled and
grimy toed and I can see – clear as day – his life neatly separated like

his piles of bok choi and slimy Chinese
mushrooms, wok-ready

as roaches he crunched underfoot
twitch and decay in unswept corners. He preps

order after order after order
for men
– they’re always men
spitting toothpicks, they’re all loose lips and frowns threaded, sweated – worn with work
tearing hunks of fatty duck

gutted on the narrow decks
of a nameless Hong Kong kitchen

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About fiercemissc

Twenty-something Geordie girl living and working in Hong Kong. Young, free and single and making the most of it.
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